Alameda Decision Information & Updates


Alameda Decision Information

This page will be a repository for updates and documents related to the Alameda Decision and its implementation. To learn more, click on one of the news items below.

To read the Alameda Decision, click here

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Alameda Decision FAQs and Glossary

Although the California Supreme Court’s Alameda Decision touched all CERL retirement systems, VCERA was particularly impacted. The ruling affected multiple parts of VCERA’s operations, most importantly the recalculation of retirement benefits. To help members and stakeholders better understand the Alameda Decision, its broad impact and its implementation, VCERA has produced Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and a Glossary of Terms. All of the terms in the Glossary are used in the FAQs, so referring to the documents simultaneously is encouraged.

Alameda Decision FAQs
Alameda Decision Glossary


Flex Credit Under Old and New Benefit Structures

In the Alameda Decision, issued on 7/30/2020, the California Supreme Court ruled that retirement boards, such as VCERA’s, could not include in Legacy members’ compensation earnable any pay items that were excluded by law, including “in-kind” benefits. “Flex credit” allowances provided to employees each pay period and applied to healthcare benefits are “in-kind” benefits that must be excluded.


Alameda Administrative Appeal Process

VCERA has created the Alameda Administrative Appeal Request Form to provide members who are affected by the Alameda Decision with the opportunity to appeal VCERA’s corrections to their retirement accounts. Corrective actions could include removing certain pay items from a member’s final average compensation (FAC), refunding retirement contributions overpaid to VCERA, and reducing monthly retirement benefits.


Leave Straddling FAQs

The Alameda Decision excluded from Legacy members’ pensionable earnings payments for annual leave redemptions (i.e., vacation buydowns) that exceed what “may be earned and payable in each 12-month period” during their final average compensation (FAC) period. When multiple leave redemptions from two calendar years are paid in a 12-month period, the total redeemed hours in that period may exceed their redeemable calendar-year hour limit.


Impact of Alameda Decision on Flex Credit and Retirement Benefits

When the California Supreme Court issued the Alameda Decision on July 30, 2020, it ruled that retirement boards do not have the discretion to include in Legacy members’ compensation earnable “in-kind” benefits. As determined in prior case law, “flex credit” payments that are applied to healthcare-related benefits are considered to be in-kind payments. Accordingly, flex credit amounts that cannot be received by employees in unrestricted cash must be excluded from compensation earnable. These in-kind payments are examples of an “Alameda Exclusion.”


Pensionability of Pay Codes – Updated 6/2/2023

Pay codes are used by employers to identify and classify types of pay remitted to employees. Some types of pay are includable in retirement earnings,* as determined by CERL and the Board of Retirement, and some are not. In the Alameda Decision, the California Supreme Court clarified for county retirement systems which categories of pay are excluded from a member’s retirement earnings.


Update on Resolutions Passed by Board on April 17, 2023

On April 17, 2023, the VCERA Board of Retirement adopted two Resolutions regarding the Alameda Decision, each affecting different groups of VCERA members.

Some members are not affected at all. For example, those who retired from VCERA prior to January 1, 2013, will not see any change in their retirement benefits as a result of the Alameda Decision.  


March 27, 2023 Board Meeting Recap Re: Alameda Flex Credit Resolution

At the March 27, 2023, Board of Retirement meeting, the Board reviewed the pending proposed Resolution Regarding Correction of Pensionability of Benefits under County of Ventura’s Flexible Benefits Program (“Flex Credit Resolution”) in advance of its formal consideration on April 17, 2023. (Links to the materials reviewed by the Board are available below.) The Resolution is to bring VCERA into compliance with the Alameda Decision (“Alameda”), which was issued by the California Supreme Court on July 30, 2020, regarding the pensionability of in-kind benefits that cannot be received in cash.


March 27, 2023 Upcoming Board Meeting: Alameda Flex Credit Resolution

At the upcoming March 27, 2023, VCERA Board of Retirement meeting, at 10:00 a.m. Time Certain, the Board will be reviewing a proposed Resolution to implement the exclusion of in-kind benefits per the California Supreme Court’s July 30, 2020, ruling in ALAMEDA COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFF’S ASSN.


Disclaimer for VCDSA Pension Calculator

It has come to VCERA’s attention that the Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (VCDSA) recently released a pension calculator application to its members. VCERA disclaims the accuracy of this pension calculator, as none of the calculations generated by this pension calculator have been tested, reviewed or verified by VCERA. An estimate produced by the VCDSA or any other pension calculator does not create any right to receive benefits under VCERA.


Alameda Decision Implementation Update from Retirement Administrator, Linda Webb

Dear County Employees & VCERA Members,

On October 12, 2020, the VCERA Board of Retirement will be considering a matter of general interest and importance to VCERA members regarding the impact of the California Supreme Court Alameda decision on VCERA. You may have received an email containing two letters from the County on this topic.